Feds Release Cybersecurity Guide for Small Utilities

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Feds Release Cybersecurity Guide for Small Utilities

January 27, 2017

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has just released a Guide to Cybersecurity, Resilience, and Reliability for Small and Under-Resourced Utilities.

Small utilities looking for a how-to on protecting themselves from cyber attacks may be disappointed, however. The Guide instead looks at the issues surrounding cyber security at small utilities (defined as having less than 100 employees or 50,000 meters). It does offer a process that utilities may want to consider to better address their approach to the issue.

The Guide notes that many publications produced for utilities in regards to cyber security fall short, as their sheer size and complexity is daunting for many small utilities. However, the report identifies a handful of guides that were developed with smaller utilities in mind.

One common shortcoming of small utilities in their cyber protection efforts, according to the Guide, appears to be simply structuring and documenting their efforts, and integrating these efforts into strategic planning. Documenting includes recording asset data such as age and condition of equipment, valuation, location and maintenance records.

“Knowing such information is vital not only to cybersecurity efforts,” notes the guide, “but also to reliability and resilience.”

The report is non-technical and 33 pages, including appendices. It is available here.